tightening a skateboard wheel

How To Install & Remove Skateboard Bearings (Explained)

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Soft VS Hard Skateboard Wheels

Removing and installing the bearings in your skateboard is much easier than it might sound. You will need to replace your skateboard bearings if cleaning them no longer gives them an extra boost or if they are broken.

Bearings can rust from water damage, seize up, or crack. If your bearings have any of the above, it’s time to get some new ones.

That being said, if you have not attempted to clean your bearings yet then give that a shot before buying new ones. Here’s a great article on how to clean your skateboard bearings.

Most bearings will have a clear side and a colored side. If your new bearings have a clear side, make sure to put that side on the inside of the wheels.

How To Remove Your Old Bearings

Removing bearings is extremely simple and you can do so in three quick steps.

  1. Using either a skate tool or a 13mm wrench, remove all four of the axle nuts. Be careful when removing your axle nuts not to lose any of the washers in the process. Once all axle nuts and washers are removed, store them in a safe place like a tupperware container or plastic bag.
  2. Pull the wheel slightly off the axle just until the middle of the wheel meets the end of the axle. From here you can use the leverage from the axle to gently pry the wheel down, and pull the bearing out. 

Pro Tip: some bearings have plastic spacers between them. If your bearings have spacers, set them aside with your axle nuts and washers.

  1. Repeat steps one and two for each of the wheels.

Once all of your old bearings have been removed you can begin to install your new bearings.

How To Install New Skateboard Bearings

  1. Place your wheels on a flat surface and put the first bearing into your wheel. Make sure that the bearing shields face the outside if there is a shield only on one side. The bearing shields are what keeps out moisture, dust, dirt, and debris, which can damage your bearings and make them stick. Push the bearings into place with the bearing press on your skate tool if you have one. If you don’t have a skate tool you can press the bearing into the wheel using the axle on your trucks.
  2. Once the first bearing is in place, add a spacer into the middle of your bearings if you have them. Spacers help stop damage from jarring when you’re out skateboarding. Then, add a second bearing on the other side of your wheel.
  3. Repeat this for each one of your wheels.
  4. Put a washer onto your trucks, followed by the wheel, then another washer. Then you can put on the axle bolt and tighten just enough so that your wheel doesn’t move up and down on the axle but still spins well. 

Pro Tip: If you’re unsure as to how much to tighten your wheels, tighten the axle bolts all the way and then turn them back by a half turn. Repeat this on all four wheels.

Best Skateboard Bearings To Purchase

I’ve always been a Bones Reds guy since I bought my first skateboard. Even when I managed a skate shop, I always suggested going for Bones Reds and I’ll tell you the same. 

Trust me, I’ve tried Bronson Speed Co. which are good, Mini Logo bearings, Shake Junts, even Bones Swiss.

If you can afford spending $60 or so on Bones Swiss then by all means, do it! They are incredible bearings and you will not be disappointed.

That being said, Bones Reds are the best bearing for your buck. At $20 or so, there is absolutely no other bearing that will come close to comparing in that price range.

But if you want that extra oomph and you have a bit of extra money to spend then by all means, try out the Bones Swiss bearings. They’re strong, fast, and dependable. I put them in one of my Loaded longboards and it became so fast that at times it was scary.

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